GS&H Shifts Gears for Chronicle

Living in the Bay Area has never been easy or cheap—a fact one ad agency has some fun with in a new campaign.

Grant, Scott & Hurley breaks three new TV spots this week for the San Francisco Chronicle. The paper was recently acquired by Hearst Corp., which sold off its flagship Examiner but shifted that paper’s staff to the Chronicle. Instead of dwelling on management changes, though, this new campaign simply suggests the Chronicle is the paper that best covers the often unconventional San Francisco lifestyle.

“We needed to let people know that they’ve figured out the way of life in the Bay Area,” said Scott Aal, co-creative director and principal at the San Francisco agency. “It’s all about saying we understand this place and we understand it better than anyone else.”

In one spot, two families soon to be related by marriage are shown at the dinner table. The father of the bride turns to his daughter during the meal and says, “You’ll always be our little 49er,” and then refers to his future in-laws as “Raider scum.”

In another spot, a young couple is shown touring a 170-square-foot home that costs $1.8 million. The landlord then says the couple can put their name on the waiting list. The third spot details the perils of parking in downtown San Francisco.

All spots use the tagline: “The daily guide to life in the Bay Area.”

“We tried to find things that were compelling to people throughout the Bay Area,” Aal said. “People can really identify with things like housing and the parking situation, and we just tried to have fun with them.”

The Chronicle has touted its writers in recent advertising, but creatives said the changes to both major dailies now require a different approach. This current push is valued at $2.5 million, mostly spread among media buys in the Bay Area.

GS&H, founded in 1997 by Aal, Grant Richards and Brian Hurley, won the Chronicle business following a review in early 1998. This is the agency’s third campaign for the newspaper.